Mother of Accused Bombers Faces Her Own Legal Woes

Arrest Warrant Could Add to Tsarnaev Family Saga in Wake of Bombing

April 23, 2013, 6:41 PM

April 23, 2013— -- The mother of accused Boston Marathon bombers has continued to defend her two sons from her home in Dagestan, Russia, but if she attempts to return to the United States to bury her older son, or care for the boy that remains hospitalized, she could face arrest on an outstanding warrant for shoplifting.

The clerk of the Natick District Court confirmed to ABC News that Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, failed to appear at a court hearing on October 25, 2012 to resolve charges that she stole $1,600 worth of garments from a nearby Lord & Taylor department store.

The family saga for the Tsarnaevs began when the two brothers, Tamerlan, 26, and Dzhokhar, 19, allegedly strolled through the crowd watching the finish of the Boston Marathon last week, dropped backpacks packed with explosives and used their cell phones to detonate the bombs, killing three and injuring more than 250. On Tuesday, the drama played out on opposite sides of the globe.

In Russia, the boys' mother professed their innocence, saying "What happened is a terrible thing. But I know that my kids have nothing to do with this. I know it. I am mother. You know, I know my kids. I know my kids. Really my kids would never get involved into anything like that." In phone conversations with ABC News, the mother has expressed her desire to travel to the United States. While she has left open that possibility, she has recently suggested only her husband might go.

In New Jersey, a lawyer for the two Tsarnaev sisters released a statement from the two women, saying, "we are absolutely devastated by the sense of loss and sorrowthis has caused. We don't have any answers but we look forward to a thorough investigation and hope to learn more."

Meanwhile in Boston, the medical examiner reported that Tamerlan – who died in a shootout with police – had his autopsy completed, but no one had come to claim the body. Tamerlan's wife, Katherine Russell, released a statement through an attorney, saying "the reports of involvement by her husband and brother-in-law came as a n absolute shock."

Tamerlan's younger brother, who arrived at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center with wounds in his head, neck, legs and a hand, had his condition upgraded to "fair," the hospital said Tuesday – a sign he is headed for a recovery.

Some of Dzhokhar's friends sought to upgrade his image, posting an undated video on You Tube showing the accused bomber doing the robot dance with buddies on the wrestling team. They said his carefree attitude had convinced them the bombing plot was the brainchild of his older brother, whom he followed in lock step on the day of the marathon.

Boston Police Superintendent William Evans offered a more detailed picture of the manhunt for the bombing suspects, saying the hunt for the accused Marathon bombers was "personal."

"We never, never let up our desire to catch who was responsible," Evans said.

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said over the weekend that authorities "hope he survives, because we have a million questions." Authorities told ABC News the University of Massachusetts college student has begun to answer some of those questions. He is reportedly telling investigators that the plot was, as some are suggesting, his brother's idea.

"The older brother appeared to be the more radicalized of the two and was the one that drove the need to conduct the attack," said Seth Jones, a counter-terrorism expert at the Rand Corporation. Authorities said the younger brother told the FBI that he and his brother were inspired by the anti-US internet preaching of the radical cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki.

*Even though the American-born al Qaeda figure was killed in a US drone strike more than a year and a half ago, his words apparently still have great power, condemning the US actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, which the brother said became their motive," Jones said.

Tamerlan posted a video on his own YouTube channel, of a Chechen rebel leader threatening death to anyone who helps the infidels. That leader was killed by the Russians last year.

And it was on the Internet, Dzhokhar told FBI agents, that they learned how to make a bomb with a pressure cooker--all found in an Al Qaeda online magazine called Inspire. He told the FBI they never even tested the bombs before detonating them last week.

" What's disturbing about that is people are getting smarter about building easily manufactured bombs and then targeting sights in the US," Jones said.

Federal agents continue to search the Boston area for more bombs, but none has been found so far. One question that remains unanswered: What were the brothers planning to do next?

The man whose SUV was stolen by the two brothers as they allegedly fled the fatal shooting of an MIT police officer told authorities that he may have heard one of the suspects say "Manhattan" as they spoke in a foreign language.

The comment prompted a string of searches the next day, taking investigators to Connecticut as they looked for a Honda and searched trains. However, the search came up empty and it is not even clear the word was spoken by the suspects.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the victim "heard them speaking in a foreign language and may have picked up the word Manhattan, but that is not at all clear at this time."

Today, NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said "No evidence they were headed our way. These stories were conflated with bits of information badly misinterpreted."

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